LOS ANGELES — When her phone rang early Sunday, designer Monique Lhuillier’s thoughts were on the Emmys later that day and the four actresses — Allison Janney, Jamie-Lynn DiScala, Megan Mullally and Famke Janssen — who would walk the red carpet in her gowns.

The voice on the other end wasn’t a stylist panicking over a last-minute fit issue. It was the message she had been waiting for to end the secret she couldn’t share because of a confidentiality agreement she was required to sign — Britney Spears was married, and in a Lhuillier creation.

“I had to keep quiet for a long time,’’ Lhuillier said Monday night. “It was tough because so many people kept asking if I got a call from her or her camp; so I was so relieved after it was over.”

Although she can’t say much more on the subject, Lhuillier and Tom Bugbee, her husband and business partner, have been beseiged since Spears and Kevin Federline wed on Saturday.

Lhuillier and Bugbee, both 33 and married more than nine years, have been in the eye of a whirlwind gathering speed in the last three years. During this period, Monique Lhuillier, founded in 1996 as a bridal house, has attracted a celebrity following since taking its signature eveningwear collection to the New York runways and opening a boutique in Beverly Hills. Lhuillier counts Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Connelly, Angelina Jolie, Sharon Stone and Jessica Simpson among her clients.

Retail sales for 2004 are on track for $15 million, Bugbee said. Sales of the ready-to-wear collection, which includes daytime suitings along with the evening gowns, rose 40 percent in the last year and are expected to jump another 40 percent in 2005, he said.

While the rtw/bridal sales ratio has tipped 60-40, the wedding business is also booming. It is projected to have a 50 percent spike before the year is over, and to grow another 35 percent next year, Bugbee said.

Eveningwear retails from about $1,600 to $10,000, with an average price of $3,500 for a gown. Linen day suitings are just under $3,000. Bridal runs from about $2,000 to $10,000

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